Pinched Nerve - Treatments

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What was the treatment for your pinched nerve?

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How is a pinched nerve treated?

Support braces

In many cases a pinched nerve can be treated with rest and ice. If the pinched nerve is in the arm (carpal tunnel syndrome or cubital tunnel syndrome) the doctor may recommend a brace for a short period of time. The brace limits the amount of movement around the nerve, which allows it to rest and recover. The brace also prevents the patient from movements that may further compress or pinch the affected nerve. A brace used for carpal tunnel syndrome covers the wrist and and is extended slightly back. This is because during flexion (bending the wrist down) the median nerve in the wrist is further pinched. The brace for cubital tunnel syndrome in the elbow can be used to keep the elbow from bending too much which further stretches the ulnar nerve.

Medication

Various medications can also be used to treat a pinched nerve. Anti-inflammatory medications, for example, ibuprofen or naproxen can reduce the inflammation (swelling) around the affected nerve. Other medications used specifically for nerve related pain include gabapentin (Neurontin) or pregabalin (Lyrica.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy can assist to stretch and strengthen specific muscles in the body, which helps relieve the pressure on the pinched nerve.

Surgery

If the symptoms from a pinched nerve do not improve with the above treatments, surgery may be recommended. Surgery may also be recommended if the patient develops additional weakness in the muscles, or if the particular nerves being pinched cause loss of control of the bowel or bladder (cauda equina syndrome). These are signs of more severe nerve damage.

Surgery for a pinched nerve depends on the location of the nerve being pinched. If the pinched nerve is in the wrist (carpal tunnel syndrome) or elbow (cubital tunnel syndrome), the surgeon can release the tissues over the nerve in the wrist or elbow to free the nerve tissue pressure.

If the pinched nerve is in the neck or lower back a spine surgeon or neurosurgeon can remove a portion of the disc or bone spurs that are compressing the nerve in the spine. In some cases, if it is necessary to remove large portions of bone or disc, the surgery may require a spinal fusion to stabilize the spine after freeing the nerve.

In the MRI image below, the herniated disc is occluding the nerves in the spinal cord.

Picture of herniated disc pinching the nerves in the spinal cord
Picture of herniated disc pinching the nerves in the spinal cord
Return to Pinched Nerve

See what others are saying

Comment from: momoftwo, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: April 22

I am a 31 year old female with an active lifestyle. I began to see a chiropractor for the pain in my neck and left arm. Besides adjusting my spine, she also does some electrical stimulation of the area, and traction on my neck. I do a number of different stretches 2-3 times a day, drink TONS of water, and apply ice when the pain is bad. This has really helped, though sitting in the car is still painful. She mentioned that when the source of my pain is no longer my arm, but only in one spot on my neck that I will be very close to recovery.

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Comment from: MissNBR, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: October 08

I have had an L5-S1 disc bulge impinging on my right sacroiliac (SI) nerve for almost 6 years. I have tried physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, spinal injections and lots and lots of nerve medications that eventually made me so sick that I was hospitalized. I have struggled for 6 years. I am only 29 years old and this pain has robbed me and my family of my life as a normal functioning person. I have lost bladder control, can barely dress myself and barely walk. I hope every day I get operated on and can get my life back.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

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